How to Price for Profit, during COVID-19

Yes, decorated-apparel shops are dropping prices to win post-pandemic work. Lucas Guariglia, CEO and co-founder of Chicago-based Rowboat Creative, has definitely noticed, and doesn’t think it’s a good idea. “While shops are using this as a survival tactic to get back above water, it’s setting the tone for us to be taken advantage of due to low pricing,” he says.

When you’re simply trying to survive the pandemic, it’s easy to justify taking orders without thinking enough about profit margin, fit for your equipment, or alignment with your goals.  Even before the virus, pricing was an issue, leaving decorators trying to find the “magic number” to appeal to customers, while still netting a profit.

“The decorators who’ll enjoy long-term success are those who’ve pursued new products and different imprinting methods to serve their customers’ changed needs, while reducing costs and maintaining a profitable position,” says Erich Campbell, program manager for the Commercial Division at BriTon Leap. “Rather than shift to a lower-margin pricing scheme, many retooled their equipment and processes to decorate new products and to serve markets that haven’t been as adversely affected.”

The Impact of ‘Low-Price Shoppers’ During COVID-19

In two months, the United States lost over 36 million jobs. This translates into much smaller budgets for buyers, especially on the marketing side. Because of this, many decorators are steering away from raising prices, even with increases in production costs and materials. “Ultimately, you get what you pay for,” Guariglia says. “We’ll always stand firm on wanting to provide superior products with superior service.”

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What Streetwear Brands’ Response to COVID Says About the Future of Apparel

The year of 2020 has definitely been a challenging one on many fronts. But, one thing that’s really stood out, especially since COVID-19 reared its ugly head earlier this year, is how art and creativity have helped carry us through it all. It’s helped us raise money for those in need, keep local businesses afloat, spread powerful messages, celebrate graduations in unique ways, and given us much needed distractions from the seriousness of the times.

Streetwear and decorated apparel, in general, has absolutely been a huge source of this creativity and support. Many in the streetwear community are among those, who, even while struggling, have used their popularity and creativity to put a smile on people’s faces, while trying to stay in business at the same time.

The Social Distancing Club

Take, for example, a new streetwear company “The Social Distancing Club,” out of Los Angeles, CA. They spawned from a desire to turn social distancing into something that felt cool and positive vs something negative, in an effort to encourage people to do it. The two founders also started the line out as a way to help the World Central Kitchen, a group working across the country on safely distributing individually packaged fresh meals to communities in need. For every piece of apparel (which consists of t-shirts, crop tops, hoodies and of course, face masks) that is sold, five dollars will go to the WCK.

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❌ Out All Of The Hate☎️

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A “WFH Care Package” Cure For Slow Business

While we all try to weather this storm that’s spread all across the globe, many businesses are trying to adapt to a new way of operating. For some employees and employers, this change has been extremely challenging, and this is where you come in. Although business has slowed for many distributors, and many companies have begun cutting back on their normal expenses to compensate for recent losses, there are still opportunities out there to generate some sales. But of all things, why would they buy any apparel from you, during a time like this?

Care Packages for Employees

Some of your regular clients might appreciate some ideas to help lift their employees spirits and make them feel more comfortable, as the workplace has started transitioning from the office to the home. Suggest that they send them some decorated loungewear, as a way to say thank you for keeping their heads up during these trying times. And, let’s be honest. Who doesn’t love a comfortable new set of jammies?

To help you get started with marketing some pieces, we’ve included a flyer for you to download below. Send this out to some of your clients to get the conversations started.

Give Them A Discount

Some of these clients might not be able to spend the extra money to give their employees this kind of gift. However, a lot of people right now are trying to find ways of supporting local business too. If you’re able, try meeting them halfway and offer them a discount on their order. This will not only show them that you’re invested in their business, but also offer them a way they can help you stay afloat too, during this tough economic time.

Get Inspired

For some more “Work From Home” inspiration, visit: https://promo.ssactivewear.com/work-from-home


Cover Photo Credit: Daria Nepriakhina

The Unpredictable Storytelling of Streetwear Legend Joe ‘Freshgoods’ Robinson

(Featured Image: Hive Society)

He may not be from Los Angeles or New York City, but his hometown of Chicago is a booming hub for entrepreneurs, and streetwear designer, Joe Freshgoods, has certainly made a name for himself beyond the third coast. His talent for storytelling, eye for art and passion for his hometown are a big part of why the Freshgoods brand has thrived over the years.

He Started Storytelling Through Apparel 

Freshgoods went to the prestigious Lane Tech High School, on the north side of Chicago, and told Black Enterprise that he’d always been into style and unique looks. “In those days, I was trying to look different so I could stand out from the crowd. I had my homegirl sew bandanas on my jeans, and everybody went crazy. I realized that people like something I had only thought of a few days before. That was my ‘aha’ moment.”

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From Skate Shop to Fashion Powerhouse: Business Lessons From Supreme’s Rise

Supreme, often referred to as “the Chanel of streetwear”, has inched its way to the top as one of the most influential brands in the industry. A-list celebs, skaters, cool kids, hip-hop legends and hypebeasts alike can be seen donning the infamous red-and-white logo. So, how did a small skate shop on Lafayette Street in downtown Manhattan turn into a complete fashion powerhouse? Ask savvy entrepreneur, James Jebbiathe founder of Supreme.  

Jebbia was a teen in the ‘80s growing up in Crawley, West Sussex, England. He used his spare money to travel to London and shop at a hidden store, which would eventually mold Supreme’s business model. By age 19, he moved to the United States and started working as a sales assistant at a store in SoHo, before eventually opening Supreme in New York.

While you probably won’t be able to replicate Jebbia’s secret business sauce, we’ve listed some valuable lessons in Supreme’s rise that can be used to help shape your company:

Do Your Research

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James Jebbia learned about the retail industry when working at Parachute in SoHo. Before opening Supreme in 1994, he actually opened a different streetwear brand, Union NYC (now closed), in 1989. All this to say, he had a bit of experience in the retail industry before starting a wildly successful company.

Wanting to start your own brand can be exciting, but always make sure you research the industry before diving head first into the unknown. Some basic things you should know:

  • Where to find quality, wholesale apparel and products  
  • How to price your products competitively  
  • Ways to sell your items

Beyond just researching how the industry works, know your target audience and what matters to them. By 2020, Millennials will make up 30 percent of total retail sales in the U.S., and Gen Z will make up 40 percent of all consumers. Studies have shown that both Millennials and Gen Z consider environmental issues in their purchasing decisions. So, if you’re looking to sell graphic tees, considering water-based, eco-friendly ink choices may be a unique selling point.

Get Scrappy With Your Hustle (And Build Street Cred)

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Supreme is infamous for giving fashion the middle finger—proven by several cease-and-desist letters. It’s also known for encouraging its employees and consumers to add their red-and-white logo stickers on posters and products as a “stamp of approval”. For example, they slapped their logo sticker on the front of a Kate Moss Calvin Klein poster in 1994, and printed Louis Vuitton’s double monogram on their skateboards in 2000 (though they eventually collaborated). Jebbia’s willingness to ruffle a few feathers in the name of creativity built credibility with niche, influential cool kids and it payed off.

Now, we’re not saying to start copyrighting a bunch of artwork, but there is something to be said about Supreme’s hustle and scrappiness. Some ways you can spread the word about your company on a smaller budget include:

  • Partnering with micro-influencers who are willing to promote your brand for a small cost, or exchange promoted posts for free swag
  • Creating short promo videos to post across social media
  • Reaching out to small businesses (relevant to your target audience) to see if you can leave promo cards at the counter

Realize that Culture Shapes Trends, Especially Youth Culture

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Almost every piece from a Supreme drop has ties to art or culture. They have a way of partnering with brands like Nike and infusing their vibe to create a totally unique outfit for the young fashion consumer.

Art and culture always find their way into what we wear and how we represent ourselves, leading to a shared sense of influence. By continually having a pulse on what’s going on in the community, Supreme is able to present apparel and products that are desirable. When thinking of new designs, look to what’s going on in your community for creative inspiration. However, always remember to remain authentic to your brand.

When thinking of new #designs, look to what’s going on in your community for creative #inspiration. However, always remember to remain authentic to your #brand. Click To Tweet

Know the Power of Supply-and-Demand

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Supreme is good at many things, and utilizing basic economics to its advantage is no exception. James Jebbia was once quoted saying, “…if we can sell 600, I make 400.” The demand for product always exceeds the supply, thus driving up the value. Though, in Supreme’s case, they take it a step further by almost never restocking a dropped collection once it’s sold out (hence the huge resell market).

If you’re just starting out, your demand for product is likely low so this may not be a tactic you can use right away. However, educating yourself on supply-and-demand economics will ultimately help you make strategic business decisions in the long run, particularly as your business grows and competition rises.

Which business lesson from Supreme was the most helpful or interesting? Let us know in the comments!

Beginner’s Guide on How to Avoid Copyright Infringement

With the rise of viral street art, pop art and popular inspirational slogans – it’s not surprising that 64 percent of professionals had work stolen over 200 times in 2016. Knowing whether a design includes copyrighted material could mean the difference between success and a lawsuit.

Unfortunately, there’s no one site that houses every protected image or vector for you to check before you start printing. However, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to navigate.

How to Tell if Something Is Copyrighted

As a basic guideline, any work published after Jan. 1, 1978, is automatically copyrighted from creation to 70 years after the artist’s death. Anything published before Jan. 1, 1978, was required to be registered with the Copyright Office, and includes a notice of copyright © on the work. Here’s what that means:  Continue reading “Beginner’s Guide on How to Avoid Copyright Infringement”